By Margarita Nahapetyan
White tea could be a natural and an effective way to boost weight loss and may also help break down existing fat cells, says a new study by German scientists from Beiersdorf AG.
Possible anti-obesity effects of white tea have already been demonstrated in previous studies on human fat cells, adipocytes. In the new research, the investigators have found that an extract of the herbal brew effectively inhibits the generation of new adipocytes and stimulates fat mobilization from mature fat cells. In other words, white tea appears to zap excess fat, an ability which the scientists call its "anti-obesity effects."
Marc Winnefeld, a lead study researcher and his colleagues, studied the biological effects of an extract of white tea - the least processed version of the tea plant Camellia sinensis. He said that "In the industrialized countries, the rising incidence of obesity-associated disorders including cardiovascular diseases and diabetes constitutes a growing problem. We have shown that white tea may be an ideal natural source of slimming substances".
For the study purposes, the experts analyzed the lab-cultured pre-adipocyte cells. What they discovered was that as the cells transformed completely into fat cells, the incorporation of fat into these cells was significantly reduced when adipocytes were treated with the extract of white tea. The extract solution induced a decrease in the expression of genes which are associated with the growth of new fat cells, while also prompting existing adipocytes to break down the fat they contain, Winnefeld explained.
Therefore, the scientists came to the conclusion that white tea extract is a natural substance that not only inhibits adipogenesis - the accumulation of fat in cells - in an effective way, but also, at the same time, stimulates the activity of lipolysis (fat burning). The bottom line is that white tea can be used in order to modulate different levels of the life cycle of human fat cells.
White tea got its name for the white downy fur that covers the unopened bud of the tea leaf. During manufacturing, the buds are lightly steamed instead of being rolled and fermented, the report said. White tea is being produced from the buds and first leaves of the same plant that is used to make the green tea and the black tea which are the most popular in Western countries. Due to the factor that white tea is processed much more less, compared to the other teas, it has been found to possess a large amount of natural compounds that the German researchers believe actively impact human fat cells. These phytochemicals, including methylxanthines, such as caffeine, and epigallocatechin-3-gallate, which is known as EGCG, most likely are responsible for a number of the anti-fat effects indicated in the new study, according to the scientists.
Obesity currently hits epidemic levels, with nearly 30 per cent of adults in the United States and 25 per cent of adults in the United Kingdom now having a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than 30. Obesity levels in China are at present time below 2 per cent, although this number is beginning to rise in some urban centers.
The results of the study are published this month in BioMed Central's open access journal Nutrition and Metabolism.